Wednesday, February 22, 2006

book 12: Fascination by William Boyd

I was recently told in a faa-faa coffeeshop that William Boyd is very well-known. Though I had assumed such, especially after reading Boyd's bio which listed his many pubishings in fancy places, I was glad to have that confirmed so forcefully by my neighbor. Apparently, not only am I a reading rube, but I am also losing my ability to eavesdrop my way into good conversations* in coffeeshops.

Fascination is 16 stories. Each story that does not have to do with middle-aged man longing for firm, young fleah is pretty good. Those are okay too, but read all together are a little repetitive and gross. Boyd also often uses short paragraphs, either as entris of some kind or just with a few line breaks in between, to tell sometimes complicated tales. More often than not this works, especially in 'Ghost of a Bird' and 'Incandescence,' and it is a nice change from a more standard structure without falling into some annoying transcribed IM kind of thing.

Besides the word rebarbative, the music of Brahms recurrs as an element in Fascination. I don't know Brahms, though I heard he is very well-known, but that didn't detract from my pleasure. It just made some of the plot movements a little obscure.

My favorite story was probably 'The Mind/Body Question.' It is about the pimply, wimpy son of two bodybuilders in S. England. He creates his own non-drug mixtures to fuck with the steroid-heads that work out at his parent's gym. He meets a muscle-girl and falls, but not exactly in love. There is also a grammatical error made right for all you wordies. 'Loose Continuity' was a surprise as well. I loved the ending, set in L.A. just post-World War II. Gleaming chrome.

I am intrigued enough to seek out a used copy of Boyd's An Ice Cream War, ot anything else by him that you recommend.
* I should say that my neighbor's conversation was pretty good. It just went downhill when I entered it.
Sorry about the short n crappy reviews recently. I am doing an insane amount of reading, mostly for jobs, and it is making writing here seem too much like work. March will be better, I'm sure. Anyone want to hire me yet?

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